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A look back at the predictions for the 2021 Seahawks from last offseason

Seattle Seahawks v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Barely six weeks remain until the start of the 2022 NFL league year and the free agency frenzy that comes with players hitting the market. The NFL still has three games left on the schedule, including the conference championship games this weekend featuring the following matchups:

It’s obviously frustrating for fans of the Seattle Seahawks to know that one of their hated division rivals will be the representative of the NFC in the Super Bowl, but that is not so unexpected given the idea that heading into the season betting markets held higher expectations for both the Niners and Rams compared to the Hawks.

That said, this isn’t a review of what the betting markets predicted for Seattle this season, it’s a review of how the predictions I, John P. Gilbert, made over the course of the offseason and how they turned out. So, jumping right in, here’s a look back at what I got right, what I got wrong.

Prediction: Tyler Lockett would have a career year under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron

It feels safe to say that a career high in yards qualifies as feasting, so this prediction appears to be correct. The prediction that he could get back to the levels of Bevell-era yards after the catch was off target, but Lockett did manage to just sneak in his highest yards after the catch per reception since 2017. In addition, his 3.79 yards after the catch per reception represented a 15.9% increase over the 3.27 number he posted in 2020, which is an increase worth noticing.

Prediction: Chris Carson could have a monster year under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.

Huh.

Stupid neck injuries.

Prediction: K.J. Wright would not be back with the Seahawks

This prediction was so unpopular and was so widely read it was worth a follow up in July that was also widely read.

While this one was difficult for many fans to stomach emotionally, from a numbers perspective, it simply made sense. There are only so many snaps to go around, as Seahawks linebackers average a combined total of around 2,800 and 2,900 defensive snaps per season. In 2021 Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor combined for 2,778 defensive snaps, meaning there just wasn’t any playing time available for an aging veteran as the team prepared for the future. Whether or not the unsourced, uncorroborated report that the team turned down an offer from Wright to play on a minimum salary deal in order to be able to finish his career in Seattle is true or not, the writing was on the wall as soon as the team announced Taylor would be playing the SAM role.

Prediction: The Seahawks wouldn’t bring back Richard Sherman

Yes, the Seahawks spent the offseason putting together a collection of cornerbacks, the majority of whom were cut, released or traded before the season ever started. Even Tre Flowers, who started for the Hawks for the first few weeks of the season, was waived in mid-October during the bye. Yet, in spite of wading through the likes of Ahkello Witherspoon, Bryan Mills, Pierre Desir, Damarious Randall and a host of others, the team eventually finished the season with several corners on the 53-man roster who weren’t acquired until after training camp had started. Those players included John Reid, Sidney Jones, Nigel Warrior and Bless Austin.

Meanwhile, despite many calls from fans over the course of the offseason, according to Sherman himself the Seahawks never actually put a contract offer on the table at any point during the offseason. That said, Sherman likely ended any possibility of return with his legal incident in July, so it’s likely better that the two sides never reached agreement on a return.

The roster on the offensive side of the ball.

Fans always want to see a review of predictions for accuracy. Thus, here’s a list of the 27 players on the offensive side of the ball who were on the initial 53 man roster after final roster cuts in August, with a notation of whether or not they were included in the roster predictions made in both May and August.

Seahawks roster predictions on the offensive side of the ball

Player May Prediction August Prediction
Player May Prediction August Prediction
Russell Wilson Yes Yes
Geno Smith Yes Yes
Sean Mannion No No
Chris Carson Yes Yes
Alex Collins No No
Travis Homer Yes Yes
DeeJay Dallas Yes Yes
Rashaad Penny Yes Yes
Nick Bellore Yes Yes
Gerald Everett Yes Yes
Will Dissly Yes Yes
Colby Parkinson Yes Yes
Tyler Lockett Yes Yes
DK Metcalf Yes Yes
Dee Eskridge Yes Yes
Freddie Swain Yes Yes
Duane Brown Yes Yes
Brandon Shell Yes Yes
Cedric Ogbuehi Yes Yes
Stone Forsythe Yes Yes
Jake Curhan No Yes
Gabe Jackson Yes Yes
Ethan Pocic Yes Yes
Damien Lewis Yes Yes
Kyle Fuller Yes Yes
Jamarco Jones No No
Phil Haynes Yes No

For those who don’t want to count it up themselves, that’s 23 of 27 spots correctly predicted more three months prior to the Hawks making final roster cuts, and the same tally once training camp rolled around in August. The misses came in the form of projecting the team to keep two additional receivers, one extra tight end and allocating one more spot to the defense.

The roster on the defensive side of the ball

Is it possible to top the 85% accuracy from the offensive side of the ball on the defensive side?

Seahawks offseason roster projections on the defensive side of the ball

Player May Prediction August Prediction
Player May Prediction August Prediction
L.J. Collier Yes Yes
Carlos Dunlap Yes Yes
Rasheem Green Yes Yes
Kerry Hyder Yes Yes
Alton Robinson Yes Yes
Benson Mayowa Yes Yes
Poona Ford Yes Yes
Bryan Mone Yes Yes
Al Woods Yes Yes
Bobby Wagner Yes Yes
Jordyn Brooks Yes Yes
Cody Barton Yes Yes
Darrell Taylor Yes Yes
Sidney Jones No No
Ahkello Witherspoon Yes Yes
Tre Brown Yes Yes
Tre Flowers Yes Yes
D.J. Reed Yes Yes
Ugo Amadi Yes Yes
Quandre Diggs Yes Yes
Jamal Adams Yes Yes
Ryan Neal Yes Yes
Marquise Blair Yes Yes

Well, well, well, it appears it is indeed possible. Of the 23 members of the initial 53 man roster on the defensive side of the ball, the only one missing from either the May or August project was Sidney Jones. The reason he was missing is, of course, that he was not acquired until the day before final roster cuts.

Putting the performance together on both offense (23 of 27) and defense (22 of 23) that puts the total performance at 45 of 50. Then, adding in the fact that there was no competition on the roster for the specialists (punter, kicker and long snapper), making those three automatic gimmes, that puts everything at 48 of 53, which is 90.57%.

Now, that’s impressive, but it’s also alarming. If some random blogger in Florida is able to predict the roster of the Seahawks with better than ninety percent accuracy three months prior to the start of the season, does “Always Compete” actually exist or is it from a bygone era?

Performance of the 2021 Seahawks on the field

Since taking over as the Managing Editor of the site, Mookie has put some fantastic pieces into place. One of those is the annual prediction for how the NFC West will shake out. My prediction for the 2021 season was as follows:

  1. Los Angeles Rams
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. Arizona Cardinals

Specifically, it was noted that,

Since Sean McVay took over for Jeff Fisher, he’s 6-3 when facing off against Pete Carroll, with those three losses coming in games in which a potentially game-winning touchdown pass hit Cooper Kupp in the hands in the final seconds, a potentially game winning field goal sailed wide in the final seconds and the third in a game in which Jared Goff played much of the game with a broken thumb on his throwing hand.

So, in short, if the Hawks want to be the favorites, they need to figure out how to beat a team that has had their number the past four years and which will have a big upgrade at quarterback for the 2021 season.

The predictions for first and third were correct, and McVay did improve to 8-3 against Carroll, so those were on the money. However, Russell Wilson’s finger exploding and launching the Hawks into a period in which they lost six of seven games was not on the list of things I foresaw. The Seahawks losing winnable football games to the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Washington Football Team and the Chicago Bears was not what my Magic 8 ball had said would happen. So, the Hawks finishing in last place in the NFC West for the first time since 1976 came as a surprise, and hopefully there’s nowhere to go but up in 2022. I suppose if we want to get technical, sideways would still be an option, but at least if they repeat as last place in the division again next season there will be a first round pick to look forward to in 2023, assuming the front office doesn’t trade the 2023 first rounder away between now and the end of next offseason.

In any case, with the season in the rear view mirror, now attention can be turned to making predictions for the offseason, including which free agents might be retained and which will be allowed to leave. And, of course, as always I’ll be looking at how much those free agents who do depart could get paid elsewhere, where my track record is unblemished, having absolutely nailed the contracts that Paul Richardson, Jeremy Lane, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Coleman, Shaquill Griffin, Earl Thomas and others have landed in free agency.

What’s that? Germain Ifedi? Nope, not ringing a bell. At all. Can’t say I can recall ever hearing that name before.